I am so sure that it is not science fiction anymore, machines are actually taking over some of our jobs; they can drive our cars, trade in stocks, handle our telephone calls and even make our drinks. Technology is already playing havoc with employment, both for the skilled and the unskilled worker. Staying still is more likely than ever to result in obsolescence; a report by the consultancy firm PwC (Pricewaterhouse Coopers) found that 30 per cent of jobs in Britain were potentially under threat from breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI). In some sectors, half the jobs could go.
Millions of jobs are at high risk in sectors including wholesale and retailing, manufacturing, banking and financial support services, transport and logistics, power and utility and educational services. The answer seems obvious — to remain competitive and to have the best chance of success, employees would need to resort to re-skilling and lifelong learning. A university degree remains important, but of increasing, the value is a resume brimming with examples of lifelong learning and professional development.
Let us look at the top five sectors that shall need to upskill and reskill in the coming times:
Banking and Financial Services
The banking sector is witnessing a massive growth owing to the launch of connected products and services, business innovation and the rise of the middle class along with the emergence of new fintech areas of mobile payments, digital wallets and P2P lending. Technologies such as chatbots, blockchains and automation through robotics powered by AI are transforming the sector.
New job roles: Banking shall witness a 55-60 per cent churn in the existing roles and witness new job roles such as cybersecurity specialists, credit analysts, robot programmers, blockchain architects and process modeller experts. Banks in the future will look for investment fund managers in lieu of loan associates, issue redressal specialists in lieu of customer associates and a chief digital officer in lieu of a chief technology officer.
Retail and E-commerce
Retail is one of the largest employers in India employing about 9 per cent of the country’s workforce. Policy reforms, increasing urbanisation and rising middle-class are driving the growth of organised retail. E-commerce, which is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 35 per cent, is creating new job profiles in logistics, warehousing, web and app design, system integration, customer service, big data and machine learning.
New job roles: Retail players are making huge investments in new technologies such as big data, robotics, SMAC, IoT and RFID and will require their employees to be able to adapt to the new technologies. The sector shall see the evolution of new job roles like retail data analysts, digital imaging leader, IT process modeller, digital marketing specialists and customer experience leaders.
The automotive sector is one of the largest employers with close to 15 million people. The convergence of low-cost sustainable technologies, smart design and integration, innovative business models, and supportive policies for sustainable mobility services have the potential to dramatically transform the automotive industry. The automotive industry has been one of the top robot-buying industries for years, and this trend is expected to continue.
New job roles: With the introduction of connected cars, big data, and cloud computing, new skill sets will be required in design, operation as well as other elements of the auto value chain in the next five years. Several job roles such as welding technicians, painting technicians, press machines operators, inspection assistants and in-plant material handlers would be threatened in the coming years, however, new job roles such as automobile analytics engineer, 3D printing technician, ML-based vehicle cybersecurity expert and sustainability integration experts will emerge.
IT- ITES Sector
India continues to be the world’s number one sourcing destination for IT-BPM services employing 4 million people directly and 13 million indirectly. Changing demands of global customers are driving Indian IT-BPM players to develop relevant competencies around technologies like IoT, ML/AI, Big data, cloud, robotics and automation. As many as 97 per cent of the industry leaders view reskilling the current workforce as a key initiative to be prepared for the change due to the impact of primary forces.
New job roles: The sector shall see the emergence of new job roles such as VFX Artists, Computer vision engineer, AI Research scientist, 3D modelling engineers, 3D designer, Cloud architects, migration engineers, android app developers. It is evident from the figure that cognitive skills, process skills along with IT/knowledge skills would be skillsets in demand in the coming years.
Textile and Apparel
The second largest employer in the country after agriculture, employing approximately 80 million people across sub-sectors and allied sectors, the domestic apparel market has seen a healthy growth on account of the rising middle-class, higher spending on apparel, and increased penetration of retail and e-tailing.
New job roles: Various processes so far within the sector already use automation but the next wave of automation is expected to impact the garment sectors where technologies such as intelligent transportation systems, robotic handling devices, automatic folding machines and 3D garment design are leading to reduction in workforce especially in job roles such as helper, fabric cutter, packer, presser and finisher. Automatic sewing bots are currently in experimentation stage in the US apparel companies. However, in the next few years, the sector shall see the rise of new job roles like environment specialists, apparel data analysis, IT process engineer and e-textile specialists.
People will need to develop not only adjacent skills but also diametrically opposite skills. Individuals have to realize that the current model of formal learning up to the age of 20 – 25 years and then working for the rest of our lives is gradually being upended.
Dinosaurs did not die because the world changed; they died because they refused to change. It’s time to wake up!
The writers are with Schoolguru Eduserve